Earth Day and Public Domain Photo Resources

earth day image NASA 2014
Happy Earth Day — Photo source: NASA

Recently I’ve written a couple of posts that involve the use of public domain photos.  And I just published my second newsletter in a row that was focused on delivering resources for children’s books or children’s products from the public domain.  So it seemed that delivering some resources for great public domain photos of the earth — and even the rest of the universe — would be just the right touch for Earth Day.  Following are two amazing sources of PD photos for your creative projects: NASA and the US Geological Survey.

NASA Photos:

First, I want to recommend NASA as an outstanding source of mind-blowing photos, particularly the galleries at the HubbleSite.  The one above is pretty tame compared to the richly colorful and exciting space photos available in their galleries.  Just be sure to read their terms and disclaimers. While most of their photos are PD, some are not and you need to contact the copyright owners for permission.  Check every one you use to make sure it doesn’t have a copyright on it.  It should be marked.  And don’t forget that it is customary to credit the photographer and source of your photos.  They’ll tell you how on site.

To give you an idea of how beautiful the photos are, here are some examples:

Spitzer and Hubble Create Colorful Masterpiece

The Cat

Spiral Galaxy M83

US Geological Survey Photos:

Next, I recommend the US Geological Survey for its highly professional offerings of photos, especially its landscapes. Many of its pictures will be immediately usable without any editing.  Of course, any public domain photo can be customized and used as you like.  Even if you properly credit the photo, remember to add credits and descriptions for yourself as well if you do substantial editing, remixing or derivatives.  And remember my recommendation of IntensifyPro as a standalone or plug it for rapid editing.  Since many of these photos are ripe for being backgrounds for quotes and other inspirational text, don’t forget that you can upload photos to your account at and make them into great social media shares.

Here are some examples of USGS public domain photos for your inspiration:

How about a sunset on a California beach:

Sunset on a beach in LaJolla
Photographer: Guy DeMeo , U.S. Geological Survey


A rainbow over the Yukon river:

Photographer: Mark Dornblaser , U.S. Geological Survey

Or a gentle forest stream:

Gentle forest stream
Photographer: Cynthia L. Cunningham , U.S. Geological Survey


Go get some of your own.  Make your website beautiful.  Create inspirational posters. Illustrate your ebooks.  Let the government help you be more creative and productive.



“Good Old Books” download: “The Optimistic Life” and “Every Man a King”

The New Thought Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had a great impact on self-help and personal achievement writers and speakers throughout the 20th century. If you study New Age writers, you’ll find its influence there. Furthermore, if you pay attention, you’ll find plenty of early 21st century writers on success and achievement espousing New Thought ideas.

Start with nothing and pull yourself up by your bootstraps? New Thought. Positive attitude wins the day? New Thought. Change your life with affirmations? New Thought. Find your passion to find your best work? New Thought. Reiterations of “sound mind in a sound body?” New Thought. Why not? These are also much older ideas and ideals. New Thought added new spiritual twists on them. But that was the culture of the day.

So, if you read the original New Thought writers, you might think them a little preachy. You might think them a little naïve. Yet, you’ll find the roots of much of our current self-help and entrepreneurial success literature in them.

I’ve been reading some of New Thought writer Orison Swett Marden, in search of a good “old book download” for you. He was the founder of the publication “Success Magazine,” and seemed to be a logical choice.

While I find a lot of his writing too much like following the mind of someone with ADHD, I have found a couple of his books that I think most people can benefit from.

“The Optimistic Life, Or in the Cheering Up Business” is a bit on the Pollyanna-ish side, but is a good demonstration of early works in positive thinking and in the idea of “laughter as the best medicine.” Not to mention that it does have many ideas that have been validated by later science. Even if it does have comments that are a bit too “cute.” I think you’ll find it a lot more cheerful that watching the current news on TV.

“Every Man a King; or, Might in Mind-Mastery,” is one of Marden’s more straight-forward and practical behavior-oriented books. The advance of science since his time has shown that what he wrote is considerably more complicated than his simple descriptions. Nevertheless, a great deal of his thinking can still be found in current self-help, success and personal achievement literature.

As you read, remember that he was a self-made success who worked his way through Harvard(!) to earn an M.D. degree as well as a degree in law. He also studied public speaking and theology. You can see the influences of his studies in his various writings.

If you want more books by Marden, go search on

Old classic book download

Here’s another entry in the old books with good information for today: “Business.” The volume is a collection of essays written by various experts in the field and edited by Andrew Carnegie. (Who also contributed.) Yes. The famous Andrew Carnegie.

This is part of a ten volume series on vocations, published around the beginning of the last century. The series was directed toward young people (young men primarily.) The volumes were among the earliest employment/business self-guidance books published. The entire series covered business, mechanics, farming and forestry, the professions (only three), public service, education, literature, music and entertainment, the fine arts and … homemaking. (See, they did have something for the girls!)

In “Business,” the authors cover a range of thought on the general principles of business in the first section of the book, and look at specific jobs in specific industries in the second section. All are verbally illustrated by relevant stories of experiences in business.

Not only are the ideas and philosophies of historical interest, they are also surprisingly close to many ideas of today. And have certainly influenced business thinking today. I would have been rolling on the floor laughing at Carnegie’s description of the wonderful benefits of growing up in poverty, if I hadn’t heard them out of the mouths of people still living. Seriously.

Nevertheless, this post is about business, not sociology. So, let’s leave it at the notion that you’ll learn a lot about how business men and women thought and how they still sometimes think. Knowing what went before may spark some new ideas for you now.

Download the book now: